Saturday, May 10, 2014
Thursday, May 8, 2014
Wednesday, April 16, 2014
Women Candidates Know These 5 TruthsBy: Mary Hughes
Across the country filing deadlines are passing and political campaigns are underway. With women at such a deficit in every state legislature (24 percent) and in Congress (18 percent), we need good women candidates running their best races. So perhaps a few reminders are in order:
1. Reflexive modesty undercuts voters' perceptions of your strength and competence. From an early age, many women learn to share credit and to make everyone a proud part of a successful enterprise. Perhaps moms are passing down the quality they believe make them good family managers and peacekeepers. Unfortunately, elections are singular pursuits resulting in winners and losers. Speaking plainly about achievements is essential to conveying readiness to lead.
Too often, women use language like "We organized" or "I helped build..." or "My team succeeded..." when in fact, they were the brains, drive and direction that led to success. No one likes a braggart, but a forthright description of ingenuity and hard work doesn't need to be offensive. Giving voters a true picture of what a candidate has accomplished is critical to success.
2. Raising money is about making a case for the cause. Recent research confirms that asking for money is a standard requirement of candidates for public office. The anxiety, avoidance and fear of failure that often accompany fundraising stem from a misunderstanding: That soliciting financial support means risking personal rejection. Not so. The best fundraisers enlist supporters in a cause rooted in their shared values. They ask for funding to achieve a policy goal, solve a problem of common concern and provide potential donors with proof of viability and a roadmap for success.
Raising issues that other candidates have not -- poverty, access to health care, early childhood education -- can be powerful. For many donors, keeping their issues visible and well argued is enough to prompt them to give. A candidate's personal qualities and political viability are factors in a donor's assessment, but not the only ones. And a donor who declines today may reconsider tomorrow.
3. Career "time-outs" are not a political liability. Few women start work and continue on uninterrupted over the course of a lifetime. Many start and stop several times; some switch from full to part-time work to accommodate family responsibilities. Other change jobs or careers.
Rather than see this pattern as debilitating, embrace it for the wisdom accumulated and the political base built. The very activities required of moms and caregivers expand their political networks and give women experiences that deepen their understanding of what's needed in public policy. Consider it a competitive advantage.
The neighborhood cobbler and dry cleaner, doctor and dentist, teacher and coach, recycling center volunteer and hospital staff can form a powerful base from which to launch a candidacy. Instead of worrying over conclusions that voters may draw about employment "gaps," women do well to mine those gaps for community ties and experiences that tell voters, "I'm like you. I get your life."
4. Women ignore gender-biased media coverage at their own peril. Many women believe it is a sign of sophistication to brush off gender-biased press coverage. Those who aspire to high office are not whiners, right? But what does it say about a candidate if she will not stand up for herself? How will she be able to stand up for the voters?
If a news story, column or comment derives from a woman's gender and the net effect is to make her "less than..." it must be addressed. According to "Name It, Change It," a study commissioned by the Women's Campaign Fund and Women's Media Center, it is necessary to identify the offense in order to change the practice.
Whether the conversation is between a candidate and a reporter, or a press conference demand for a wholesale change in editorial policy depends on the particulars. The point is: Women can't let sexism go. When voters hear the debate, they make fair judgments, but they can't be fair if they don't get the facts. Belittling press coverage is an opportunity for candidates to show how really big they are.
5. "Vote for me. We need more women" is not a winning appeal. Voters want to select the best person for the job. Asking them to make a judgment based on an immutable characteristic -- race, ethnicity, gender, age, etc. -- isn't making the best case. Accomplishment and character; vision, problem-solving and diligence rank high among qualities voters are looking for.
Recent research concludes that working together women and men get better results than teams of only one gender. There is more and more evidence that women in legislative bodies change the agenda, procedures, content and outcomes of policy debates. And there are other benefits of having women in office. In other words, women elected officials act differently and make a difference. But that is a conversation and message to be delivered by advocacy groups.
Winning candidates focus on what they can do for the people they hope to represent.
How they do that signals the kind of leader they will be. Some questions for candidates:
• What will you do to lighten their load? (Purposeful)
• How will you make government solutions work for everyone? (Knowledgeable)
• What are the specific, realistic changes you can make? (Practical)
• What have you done before that demonstrates you can do this now? (Accomplished)
• What can you share that communicates: "I am like you. I am for you?" (Connected)
• Will voters always be proud that they chose you? (Honorable)
Thursday, March 27, 2014
Join us at 11:00 AM on Saturday April 12 for a panel discussion with the women candidates in the Senate District 26 race, moderated by Kafi Blumenfield.
Space limited - RSVP Requested, to email@example.com
Santa Monica Library
601 Santa Monica Blvd., Santa Monica 90401
Santa Monica Library
601 Santa Monica Blvd., Santa Monica 90401
RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org
Wednesday, March 26, 2014
April 4-5, 2014: WEHO Women's Leadership Conference
The 8th annual West Hollywood's Women's Leadership Conference: Unlimited Opportunities - Knowledge.Power.Community. will be held April 4 - 5, 2014! The mission of the West Hollywood Women's Leadership Conference is to provide tools and support, inspired by the City's Core Values, for women to be successful leaders in their private lives, in business and in the community.
The 2014 Keynote Leadership Luncheon panel will feature an innovative and in-depth discussion around Women in the Arts & Media and will feature Patt Morrison, LA Times Columnist and Pulitzer Prize Winner; Charmaine Jefferson, Executive Director of the California African American Museum; Jane Espenson, Writer and Producer of hit shows such asBuffy the Vampire Slayer, Once Upon a Time, and the acclaimed online series Husbands; and Brad Bell, Writer, Actor, and Producer of the acclaimed online series Husbands!
April 5, 2014
9 am - 4:30 pm
West Hollywood Park
625 N. San Vicente Blvd.
West Hollywood, CA 90069